A tributary of the West Prong of Little River, Laurel Creek is a small rainbow trout stream. This creek enters the West Prong immediately downstream from where the West Prong flows under the Laurel Creek Road as it heads south into wilderness. From here upstream, Laurel Creek is usually close to its namesake road.
Fishing on Laurel Creek
This is a typical small stream for Cades Cove vicinity in the Smokies. Interestingly, streams in this portion of the Park tend to be lower gradient and Laurel Creek is no exception. As a result, fishing can be a bit tougher than on other Park streams. This is because of the longer casts required. However, the brushy banks and overhanging mountain laurel and rhododendron make that challenging. This stream also tends to have rather low flows. When the flows are good, there are plenty of fish to be found if you don’t mind small trout.
The average trout here is small but feisty. This stream is something of a nursery stream for the West Prong. There is plenty of good spawning gravel available here. The rainbows are not particularly picky if you can get a good presentation. Some impressive numbers have been put up on this stream by small stream aficionados.
In summary, there are better streams to catch small rainbow trout in the Great Smoky Mountains. The main reason to fish this stream is simply to check it off of your list. In addition, one other reason would be if other area streams are too high. West Prong and Laurel Creek are both good options during periods of generally high water.
Severe wind damage made this stream more difficult to fish than most. A summertime squall line roared through the Park causing widespread damage. Some of the hardest hit slopes were on the banks of this stream. Fallen trees and brush have nearly buried some sections. This is probably good for the resident trout, however. Protection from predators means the trout here are thriving. Unfortunately this protection makes fishing some sections nearly impossible.